Can a Christian be against Christ?

The answer to the title of this article may seem obvious, however, it is not always so! Not all Christians are actually living a life that pleases Christ.

While having christian parents is enough to be called ‘christian’, it takes more than just being born in a Christian family to be on the side of Christ. The lines are way thinner than we imagine.

Once Jesus’ mother and brothers were waiting to meet Him standing outside a house and this news was brought to Jesus. He immediately looked at the crowd in front of Him, who filled that house, and said ‘who is my mother, and who are my brother’s?’ (Matthew 12:48)

I believe, it would have left the audience of Jesus completely baffled. If we were to make the same statement to our parents and siblings today, we would be calling for deep trouble! Yet Jesus did it, because his standards were different and His teachings were tough.

Jesus went against traditions, culture and expectations of His people and time. He gave the place of a mother, brother and sister to those who did the ‘will of God’, over his own blood related family. So if Jesus questioned His own family, would he spare you and me if we don’t believe in Him and do His will, just because our parents are christians?

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30

Being spiritually passive is a state where one chooses to be inactive in the affairs of the kingdom of God, often accompanied by reasoning such as ‘there is already too much on my plate’, ‘let me work hard now and when I retire I will serve Christ’, ‘am busy trying to hold everything together’, ‘if I don’t work, how will I feed my family’, ‘it’s a clergy job’. This is a very dangerous state to be in.

Jesus gave the place of a mother, brother and sister to those who did the ‘will of God’, over his own blood related family.

When God made us a new creation, He made us for a purpose with a heavenly mandate to be His ambassadors on earth. Not fulfilling or, for that matter, neglecting such a calling not only makes us disobedient to God but destroys the very work of Christ. And Jesus said, these are the people who are against Him!

In a world where everyone likes to play safe, Christ made the lines quite clear and expects us to choose the kind of life that abides by the law of Christ.

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LOVE DEFINED AND APPLIED

….and the greatest of these is LOVE

Have you heard the saying – ‘Love is blind’? And how it makes a person numb to logic? You may have also heard how people in love feel a hormonal rush. To simply put it, these are emotions that are capable to hijack a person. Hence, people push and accomplish major feats for love. But the question today is – Where did something as strong as this ‘love’ originate?

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

Man’s love
Love is the strongest of all emotions and yet at times becomes the toughest of all. For instance, a man can find it easy to feed a poor person out of compassion, but find it hard to speak a few kind words to his loved one sometimes. Even the purest of all earthly love, which is mother’s love, can fail to satisfy. Because human love has reservations and limitations. Yes, it is true. The sinful nature in man becomes his hindrance to love. Do you remember the times when you knew it was your mistake and still struggled to say sorry and show love?

God’s love –
God is described as love in the Bible. He is the very definition of love. God is seen as the highest form of love. He is without any malice, selfishness, unfaithfulness, bias. His love is also called agape love.

Love is the strongest of all emotions and yet at times becomes the toughest of all.

Every statement made in the Bible is not merely a historic claim but it is a truth claim. It doesn’t need any further validation. Yet, God in his generosity gave enough evidence to support His claims with action.

Even the statement “God is love” in 1 John 4:16, needs no validation. God still demonstrated it by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
1. He became our atoning sacrifice by dying on the cross, so that you and I can be free from sins. What have we done to deserve such a love?
2. He forgave the Roman soldiers who crucified him. This shows the extent of His love – forgiving even those who hurt him.
3. When He asked John to take care of his mother, Mary, even in the last minute shows how caring His love is. It also portrays His attention to our inmost needs.
4. His final statement before He died, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?”, displays how much He values His relationship with the father which also reciprocates in every other relationship on earth.

Jesus was able to exhibit this love because of the Spirit of God. In Romans 5:5, Paul says – ‘God’s love has been poured into us through the Spirit’. As we walk in step with the Spirit, the first attribute of the fruit of the Holy Spirit generated in us is LOVE.

Now, there are two kinds of love, one which comes from the flesh and one which comes from the Spirit of God – which brings us to our second question – Why has this love from God been given to us?

Well, the Bible gives us a two-fold application, commonly understood as vertical and horizontal elements, resembling the cross.

As we walk in step with the Spirit, the first attribute of the fruit of the Holy Spirit generated in us is LOVE.

Loving God


“..may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,”
Ephesians 3:18 NIV

The vertical element symbolises that this love is poured in us to quench our own need to be loved. It’s interesting to note – it was the cross, Jesus’ sacrifice, which made it possible for us to experience God’s love in a much deeper way. Today, God is not just some distant being trying to force His way in us. In fact, He is a father who seeks the best for us. We receive this understanding through the Spirit.

When you drink from God’s love and quench your thirst, there will always be more of his love to keep filling you.

And God desires that we would stop seeking this love in the things of this world, because the world doesn’t have the power to quench our thirst. On the other hand, God’s love is so vast and deep that no one will be able to finish drinking it fully. You’ll drink from His love and quench your thirst, and there will always be more of his love to keep filling you. Having tasted God’s love, we are able to love Him back on a much greater level by obeying His command.

Loving others

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:44-45 (NIV)

The horizontal element is to love everyone, even those whom we consider enemies. The Bible commands us to go one step further and pray for our enemies. Humanly speaking, our flesh will not allow to do so. Yet, with God’s love poured into our hearts and by the Spirit that empowers our inner man, we can love others. How can we give, what we don’t have? That’s why it is important for us to first be filled with God’s love.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
1 John 4:20 NIV

With God’s love poured into our hearts and by the Spirit that empowers our inner man, we can love others.

There is an intricate connection between the horizontal and vertical element. One is derived from the other. For those who are in Christ, God puts the link. He puts the link between loving God and loving one another – like that between husband and wife, siblings, friends, and colleagues. The love of God poured into us does a full 360° work in us, without leaving any area untouched.

A person may have great faith, great hope, but if he or she is empty of love, that person cannot be used by Adonai.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love
. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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RECOGNISING AND CONQUERING THE SPIRIT OF FEELING ORPHANED

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” – Jesus

Quite often, you find yourself feeling fearful of an unknown future, or a broken past, or a shameful present. Today, keep your heart open – as God, who is your FATHER and who loves like a MOTHER, wants you to dive into His arms and receive His unconditional love that will wash away all your pain, rejection, shame, fear and burden. There is no place except the arms of your heavenly Father where you will be made whole.

The love that human beings have to offer is tainted by sin. An earthly mother or father can love you sacrificially and beautifully, but never completely. This is simply because sin entered mankind and only Jesus could pay the ultimate price for it because He had no sin in Him. God, who is sinless, is the only one whose love is completely selfless and totally unconditional.

To receive God’s gracious love, you and I need to do nothing. Only believe who He is and what He is saying is true.

Jesus literally came on earth to empathise with the scars and wounds that you have faced – caused by sin in others and yourself

Beloved, sin in others and sin in you has wounded and scarred your life from when you were a child. Yes, scarred physically but also spiritually. The inability to trust human beings because they harmed you, automatically, makes it hard for you to trust God. Inability to see good in yourself, automatically, makes it hard to see good in God. Every scar of your life leaves a mark that causes fear, anxiety and bitterness to flood your life.

And Jesus literally came on earth to empathise with these scars and wounds that you have faced – caused by sin in others and yourself. That is why, when He was talking about His ascension to heaven and about sending the Holy Spirit, He told his disciples – “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” John 14 : 18 (NIV)

The disciples weren’t orphans, but with Jesus leaving them to go to heaven – they were going to be ‘orphaned’ spiritually. This is why Jesus had to tell them that though he was going to heaven, he was sending another advocate who would live in them and speak God’s word to them.

Today, a lot of us continue living orphaned spiritually. Sometimes we get a hint of it, but a lot of times we don’t even recognise that the mistakes we make or say is because we’re deeply scarred internally.

Now, how does a king know when to send his army to fight a battle? It is when he recognises that the enemy is scheming to attack him or has already launched an attack.

The same way, a lot of us end up living with a spirit of feeling orphaned, which ties us down and limits us, because we don’t even know that there is such an attack upon us.

A lot of times we don’t even recognise that the mistakes we make or things we say are because we’re deeply scarred internally

So how does one recognise this spirit of feeling orphaned?

  1. Sensing loneliness and feeling helpless
  2. Feeling anxious and worried
  3. Finding it hard to trust anyone completely, including God
  4. Feeling jealous or upset when others are blessed
  5. Being unforgiving and unmerciful to God and others
  6. Pitying yourself

But you are not meant to be living a life feeling orphaned in your spirit.

In fact, the Holy Spirit who lives in you, is always reminding you that you are a CHILD of GOD!

Let me tell you, one of the most important truth you need to live by for a victorious life is that YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD – which only comes by believing in Jesus (John 1:12).

You are not meant to be living a life feeling orphaned in your spirit, but to live as a child of God

Paul understood this very well, and that is why he says in Romans 8 : 15 – 16, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

If you recognise any of these characteristics in yourself, or observe a pattern of any of these or all of it in your life, you know that you got to fight this out. The Spirit of feeling orphaned holds you back from the plans God has laid out for you. Even if you read the bible or attend church, these scars stop you from fulfilling the call of God in your life and living to the fullest capacity that God has fashioned you for.

Recognising and knowing your enemy helps you form a strategy and plan your battle. Every king sends his troops to battle based on the size, ability and schemes of the enemy. It would be foolish to send all the army for a battle against only a few or to take less army to fight a large enemy.

The Spirit of feeling orphaned holds you back from the plans God has laid out for you.

How do you strategise and position yourself to fight this battle and conquer the spirit of feeling orphaned?

1. Know your identity in Christ

Everything you do and everything expected from you is rooted in identity. You are a girl or a boy, a student or a professional, a doctor or an artist, an Indian or German, a daughter or a son and so much more. Do you see how everything in this world functions on identity?

The truth is all these worldly identities like gender, race, profession, and creed are limited and temporary. They either end once your life ends or they keep changing in your lifetime.

There is only one identity that lasts for eternity which is true and firm, and that is your identity in Christ.

When you believe in Jesus, you receive this identity in Christ – You are God’s child, You are God’s cherished possession. You are chosen, holy, a priest (1 Peter 2:9). You are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). You are His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). You are fearfully and wonderfully created (Psalms 139:14). You are His signet ring (Haggai 2:23). You are God’s chosen instrument and vessel (Acts 9:15).

As you read and meditate on the word of God, the Bible, to know who God is – you will begin to understand your true identity in Him.

There is only one identity that lasts for eternity which is true and firm, and that is your identity in Christ.

Every time you see yourself questioning your worth, or someone else questioning it – remind yourself of your identity in Christ. Feel jealous or upset when others are blessed? Remind yourself of who you are and how valued you are in God’s sight, as much as the other person is valued in God’s sight. Finding it hard to forgive someone who has wronged you or God himself? Remind yourself of what God has done for you through Jesus and who you are because of Jesus’ unconditional love for you.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you focus on your weakness or trials, you will end up pitying yourself which pulls your spirit down. Instead, in those moments of weakness and trials, focus on your strengths and the gifts God has given you. If you do this, you will see how, no matter which area you do well or don’t do well, you will remain confident of who you are – simply because your identity is now in Christ.

2. Trust your heavenly Father completely

When you feel lonely, left out and helpless, you tend to go further into a hole and hide yourself. This destroys all the amazing purposes that God has planned for your life. Instead, when you feel lonely and helpless, you’ve got to call out to God and seek Him.

Job was feeling extremely lonely when he lost everything he had, and even his wife told him to curse God and die. But Job says in Job 23:8 that God was near Him.

How did Job overcome loneliness? By trusting God.

God is a father to the fatherless. We are all His children and He will never let us feel orphaned.

Why should you trust God? Because He is never changing, holy, righteous, loving, compassionate, slow to anger, forgiving and He is the author and perfecter of your life. He holds the whole world in His hands. He is always good. He is keeper of His word, a giver, a helper and your all in all. God says in 1 Peter 2:6 that no one who trusts in Him will ever be put to shame.

God is a father to the fatherless. We are all His children and He will never let us feel orphaned. Because when you trust Him, He ensures He fulfills His word.

When you’re feeling anxious and worried, this trust upon God will be your shield and rampart. Someone who doesn’t have the spirit of feeling orphaned will never worry about life on earth – their job, marriage, family. It is simply because they trust God who says, ‘if I feed the birds in the air, will I not also feed you?’ So every time you feel anxious when a tough circumstance comes your way, proclaim your trust in this true and living God who is in charge of everything and who is faithful to His word. He will never ever fail those why trust in Him.

When you trust God, you also trust people around you because the God whom you depend on trusts those people. Is it making sense? God trusts those around you with gifts and talents and so much more. So if you say you trust God, you got to trust those people too.

People fail, because sin entered mankind and has made everyone sinful. But the God who is over those people and you will never fail. That is why, in Romans 8:28, God says that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Beloved, you and I are not called to be trampled by the spirit of feeling orphaned. You and I are called to conquer it – and it is only possible through the help of the Holy Spirit and understanding God’s word. We need to rest in our identity in Christ and trust God completely, even when it looks irrational.

You and I are not called to be trampled by the spirit of feeling orphaned. You and I are called to conquer it.

God is your everything. He promised that He won’t leave you as orphans.

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ANCHORING YOUR HOPE

Looking at all that has happened due to Covid-19, if you are reading this blog now – kudos to your perseverance! Who would have thought that something as small as a microorganism can be so deadly and devour so many lives? It is not only the body that the virus affects but also man’s soul (emotions and thinking). What many have lost, together with losing their many loved ones, is ‘hope’ – which is something that gives strength to individuals to cope through sorrow and distress. One finds it hard to press on forward with confidence, because of all the fatal blows he has received in life.

Yet, despite turmoil and suffering, those who hope in Christ remain strong.

The hope that the Bible promises is complete, concrete and reassuring.

This may sound strange. But let us first look at what is not hope according to Bible

  • Biblical hope is not mere positive thinking. If it was so, then it is hard to encourage oneself especially when one is shattered and depressed. In times of difficulty, we need external reassuring help which is only found in the bible.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”… For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 (NIV)

  • Biblical hope is not a dream, either. Dreams may or may not come true, especially considering the financial, emotional, mental exhaustion that occurs during illness or loss. Biblical hope offers us the true solution based on reality. So we need to be more realistic as we look for hope.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (NIV)

  • Biblical hope is not just for riches, jobs and good health on earth. The truth is God wants us to hope for what is eternal because if one gets everything on earth, then there is nothing more to hope for. Biblical hope is weightier than earthly possessions. Rom 8:24

Biblical hope offers us the true solution based on reality.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

The hope that Bible promises is complete, concrete and reassuring.

Let’s take a look at this verse, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

True hope is foolishness to people who are not in Christ, but for us who believe – it gives power to face every challenge with boldness.

First of all, hope is based in Christ. You can tap into this hope by receiving Christ into your hearts. Secondly, it is a hope of glory, i.e, a heavenly inheritance, glorious riches, glorious bodies, a peaceful state in eternal dibs. Thirdly, it is for those to whom it has been made known. Till date, this true hope remains a mystery for many. It is foolishness to people who are not in Christ, but for us who believe – it gives power to face every challenge with boldness.

What really anchors a believer’s hope? What makes it unshakeable and true?

1. Jesus Christ, our forerunner

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

For a sinner who hopes in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, there is no fear of being let down by Jesus.

True hope springs from the message of Christ. Because Jesus, left His heavenly splendour with all its powers and became nothing, a human being. He took the path of suffering, pain, the cross and, most importantly, took the place of us sinners being punished for our transgressions. He defeated death, received a rich welcome and sat on the heavenly throne next to the father and will sit as a judge of both the living and the dead. So, for a sinner who hopes in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, there is no fear of being let down by Jesus. He himself continues to live to intercede for our salvation, just as He did for Peter.

2. Covenant promises by the Father

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Hebrews 8:12-13 (NIV)

We can rest assured that all our efforts in the Lord and for the Lord won’t be in vain but will result in better promises.

God has promised, through the new covenant, to be merciful for our unrighteousness and remember our sins no more. We know, these promises were not spoken by God in haste. Unlike us humans who conveniently lie, yahwah – God – is absolutely faithful. The whole Bible in itself proves this truth. The life of Israelites, Abraham and David are the best examples. The word of God boosts our confidence. We can rest assured that all our efforts in the Lord and for the Lord won’t be in vain but will result in better promises. And the greatest promise is that we will be co-heirs with Christ in his inheritance.

3. Holy Spirit, as a seal

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

2 Corinthians 5:5 (NKJV)

Holy Spirit provides life and power to our mortal bodies giving us hope, just as He exerted power in Christ Jesus, when He raised Him from the dead and brought Him to life.

As we speak of hope, we cannot do so without talking about the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, who is an assurance of what is to come for those who believe in Jesus Christ. He continues to live to reveal the heart and mind of God to us. But, most importantly, He is a guarantee of what is to come. Just as in the case of a betrothal, the man commits and assures the girl’s family that he is going to come back to take her to be his wife.

Holy Spirit continuously prompts you to lead you into all truth, convicting you of His righteousness. He provides life and power to our mortal bodies giving us hope, just as He exerted power in Christ Jesus, when He raised Him from the dead and brought Him to life.

For believers in Christ today, ‘hope’ for tomorrow is not just sympathy shown by God, it is a prerogative.

Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NKJV)

So, for believers in Christ today, ‘hope’ for tomorrow is not just sympathy shown by God, it is a prerogative. It is an entitlement which God himself has given through Jesus. Our hope is secured and anchored in Christ and by God himself because nothing can separate us from love of God that is in Christ. So we boast all the more in our hope. Because this hope will not put us to shame or result in disappointment.

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FAITH : Placing your trust in Jesus and His promises

Paul, a very fierce character in the New Testament, who nearly destroyed the church because of their ‘faith in Jesus’, later puts himself on the frontline and becomes a pioneer of the same faith among gentiles.

In 1 Timothy 2:5‭-‬7, Paul says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.”

This story is not just about Paul. Million and billion others after Paul have joined this sect which is called ‘The Way’, and today people call it ‘Christianity’.

You might be wondering why talk about it through this blog? Because many are curious. ‘what really compels these people’ and some are trying hard to fill this curiosity with accusations and stories of people giving money or some perks to convert others to Christianity. While I agree there could be some cases which may be true, it comprises less than 1% of such people who do this for their gain. Let us not push aside the remaining 99% people’s testimony. Viewing them with the same lens as the 1% is incorrect.

For example, simply because we have some murderers in the country. It doesn’t make rest of the people in the country, murderers.

So, let’s look at the core of what really urges people to genuinely believe and follow Jesus Christ inspite of severe persecution.

• Love of God

This love, which is from God, is evident in Christ and in the church which is also called the ‘Body of Christ’.

Jesus demonstrated what it means to love by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, for the forgiveness of our sins.

Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:29 says – “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

Likewise in Matthew 5:44, He says, “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

Jesus, himself, is an example when it comes to following these commands.

He demonstrated what it means to love by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, for the forgiveness of our sins.

How could we reject such a love? Reject such a forgiveness and still walk in our iniquities? It is truly for freedom that Christ set us free!

• Eternal life

We may all be familiar with the scripture in John 3:16 that says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

But have you heard of this passage in Hebrews 2:14-15 that says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Without Christ, there is no way one can make it to heaven.

So Jesus’ dying on the cross was not just a sign of love, but a ‘hefty price’ He paid with His body and blood to make provision for eternal life. In short, He became our atoning sacrifice. He did this so that you and I can be free of condemnation. In others words, without Christ there is no way one can make it to heaven.

Such a price who can pay to purchase you from death’s hold on you? Jesus came to save us from our iniquities.

• Sonship and Companionship

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “ Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
Galatians 4:4‭-‬7

We cannot understand the Gospel without understanding the terms – grace and free.

There is a new mandate for us as new creation, to be called His sons – sons of the Almighty God and Co-heirs with Christ. This is all at the cost of just believing in Jesus Christ.

We cannot understand the Gospel without understanding the terms – grace and free. It is just like how we cannot overlook a sale of 70% or 90% on online shopping. In fact, Jesus is giving salvation for free. That is why you will notice that the terms grace and free are often repeated in the New Testament. Companionship with the constant presence of the Holy Spirit is an added bonus.


We are living in times of identity crisis, emotional breakdowns, loneliness and depression. The Bible provides a perfect solution to our problems which is to just believe in the one, Jesus, who gave His life as a ransom for us.

Are you willing to put your faith in Jesus today?

If yes, drop a comment below saying, ‘I put my faith in Jesus Christ.’

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IS TRUE UNITY BEYOND PHONE CALLS, HUGS AND GATHERINGS?

Complete Unity
I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  
John 17:23 

More than often, in today’s time, I hear people saying they don’t ‘like’ a particular leader in church and so stopped going to church OR that someone in the church ‘hurt’ them OR someone did something ‘wrong’. While all these may be true and genuine reasons – it is not only unfruitful but also against God’s desire that anyone separates from the body of Christ and sails this earthly life all by themselves.

On the other hand, when Jesus prayed and asked God to bring us all in complete unity with Himself and God – He prayed it because it is possible.

Well, it is unity that comes from God that binds us, His people, together as one family – the church – despite our differences, hurts, misunderstandings and wrongdoing.

Although the word ‘unity’ is often understood as an absence of hurt, misunderstandings, offence and negative emotions, it is not the true biblical expression of the word ‘unity’. In fact, ‘unity’ in the bible is far deeper than physical hugs, calls, gatherings and unions.

Have you seen how most families live and journey life together despite their differences, day-to-day disagreements, hurt, and misunderstandings? Why and how? Well, it is unity that comes from God that binds us, His people, together as one family – the church – despite our differences, hurts, misunderstandings and wrongdoing.

According to what Jesus prayed and the word of God – there are two crucial principles that we need to align ourselves to, that brings us to this unity –

• UNITY IN THE SPIRIT

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2 : 1 – 2

We, believers in Christ, must be united with the Spirit of God. Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to be one in spirit and of one mind. That is only possible by being united with Christ – as Jesus prays in John, ‘I in them and You in Me’. When you are connected to Christ, who is the head of the church, you will undoubtedly be connected to every other part of the body. This is because the Head, Jesus, himself has the best interests of all parts of His body in mind.

It will be about sympathising with others’ weakness rather than judging them. It will be about correcting and building up a fellow believer, instead of gossiping about them. This will be true unity.

If you are connected to Christ and share in the Spirit, you will begin to view, perceive and understand others through the Spirit of God. It will no longer be about your priorities that needs to be heard, but about God’s priorities being heard and taken into account. It will no longer be about what someone said or did, but about why that person said or did that very thing. It will be about sympathising with others’ weakness rather than judging them. It will be about correcting and building up a fellow believer, instead of gossiping about them. This will be true unity.

Jesus, himself, empathises with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), that is why He even came to the point where He was willing to die for our sins. No one who is against you for your mistakes will die in your place for those very sins. He had the interests of the Father in mind, and so all He desired was to lavish the Father’s love on us, who sin against Him over and over again.

Friend, you have to walk in the Spirit and be in constant communion with Christ to be able to be truly united to the body of Christ. It is not about being united with one or two people who suit your interests, but every single person in the body of Christ.

John says in 1 John 3:15 that anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer. Why? Simply because God is love. Loving is the very nature of God. That is why, God loved us to an extent of sacrificing His only begotten son as a ransom for our sins. This means that if I truly love God, I have to accept this nature of His which is to love unconditionally.

God’s love is AGAPE. It is unconditional. You can stop talking to God, turn your back on Him, speak ill of Him – and He will still not stop loving you.

You have to walk in the Spirit and be in constant communion with Christ to be able to be truly united to the body of Christ.

And so, if you really love God, the truth is – you wouldn’t hate, or in simpler words, hold anything against anyone in your heart. You will instead lavish your love upon the person who has hurt you, harmed you or even done the worst to you. Simply because you love God, who loves that person enough to pay a penalty for that person’s sins.

Unite with Christ, through the Spirit of God, and you will begin to exhibit and live in what Jesus said is ‘complete unity’ within the body of Christ. Beyond the physical, it will be unity in the Spirit.

• UNITY COMES THROUGH MATURITY

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4 : 1-6

Unity comes with being able to live a life worthy of the call that God has over you. As you walk in communion with Christ, you will grow in maturity, in understanding and in reflecting Christ. Unity through the bond of peace that Paul talks about here in Ephesians is not an inherit nature in all of us. In fact, we all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The sinful nature is us is constantly battling with the Spirit of God who is at work in us. However, Jesus won the victory for us and so now we don’t need to submit to our sinful nature; rather we submit to the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit will only lead us to be at peace with one another, to forgive one another, to bear with one another. As Paul says, there is ONE body, ONE spirit, ONE hope, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all.

The triune God in the Bible best describes unity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit always work in tandem, in oneness and unity.

The Holy Spirit will only lead us to be at peace with one another, to forgive one another, to bear with one another.

Where the flesh rules, there will be jealousy, offences, misunderstandings, hurt, fights, quarrels and differences. But where Christ rules, there will be understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, love, peace, joy and unity.

In the church of Corinth, people were jealous of one another and they had fights and quarrelling. Paul tells them in 1 Corinthian 3 : 1-3 – Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

Paul told them that their jealousy and quarrelling stemmed from their immaturity and lack of growth in Christ. Beloved, step up to know Christ more, grow in His likeness. Only when you grow to become more like Jesus, maturing in Him, will true unity reign in you.

Unity is more than feeling ‘comfortable’ around someone, it is making others feel comfortable around you. It is more than ‘not talking to someone because of their behaviour’, it is being there for everyone when they need you. It is more than mere hugs and kisses, it is loving each other at one’s worst.

We must stop taking offence, being hurt and leaving the body of Christ – rather, make efforts to keep the unity of the Spirit, be quick to forgive and love one another unconditionally.

Jesus said that if we, believers in Christ, come together in complete unity as Jesus resides in us and God resides in Him – then the world will know that Jesus has loved all of us the way that God has loved Him.

There’s a dire need today, for us to stop taking offence, being hurt and leaving the body of Christ – rather, to make efforts to keep the unity of the Spirit, be quick to forgive and love one another unconditionally. Then the world will see us and believe that Jesus is Lord.

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DON’T DESPISE SMALL THINGS

‘Go big!’, ‘do something great’, ‘it’s insignificant, ‘reach out for the stars’, ‘he’s not capable’, ‘she’s too young’, ‘he is too weak in this’– don’t these phrases sound so familiar? We hear them all the time. But, God – the creator of heaven and earth, says something that is very different from all of this. This is what He says in Zechariah 4 : 10 – ‘Who dares despise the day of small things….?’.

Yes, if you’ve said or thought any of those statements for yourself or others – God is asking you, ‘Who dares despise the day of small things…?’

Through the length and breadth of the bible, from when God created man from ‘dust’ and when God used Jesus as a ‘young’ man to die for our sins – He was making one point clear. Small things are to be honoured and valued. It is these small things, the day of small things that brings out the glory in the finish.

Today, if you feel small or something you are doing seems small and insignificant, God is reminding you – He holds you and those small things done, according to His will, in high regard. The end result of you and all that God is doing through you will gain its very glory from their small beginnings, hopes and capabilities.

Small beginnings

Beloved, today, about 2000 years after Jesus died, there are millions of people who believe that He is the promised Messiah. How many believed and followed Him when He was here on earth? 12? Even among them one betrayed him.

Small beginning, right? Just 11 men who believed that He indeed was and is the saviour of this world.

Don’t be discouraged with small and humble beginnings. When the assignment is from God, small beginnings are like the root of a tree; If not for these roots (small beginnings), the tree would never grow and bear fruit.

When Jesus’ disciples lacked faith to drive out demons from a boy, Jesus told them in Matthew 17:20, “…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

That is it, Jesus wants us to begin by having faith, even as small as a mustard seed, to move a mountain. Assignments, plans and strategies that begin as small as a mustard seed is exactly what God uses to display His glory and power.

Don’t underestimate the small beginning that you have ventured into or even something that God is doing through someone else. In time to come, these will be the testimonies declared from the mountain top.

Small hopes

Nothing is impossible for God. If you’ve read the bible, you’d know by now that God has always turned ‘small hopes’ into big breakthroughs.

The little boy had only five loaves and two fishes. The disciples had no hope in it, yet the boy did. With his small hope, he gave it to Jesus. The same five loaves and two fishes fed five thousand men and even more women and children – with 12 baskets leftover.

During the reign of judges, God asked Gideon to fight Israel’s enemies who numbered in lakhs with just 300 men. Grim, small hope, right? But what happened? Who won the battle? Gideon and his 300 men!

No small hope placed on Jesus will ever fail. Even with the smallest hope, He is a God who can turn impossible situations into massive victories.

In Malachi 3 : 10, God says, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” The principle that God is laying down here is that ‘you bring whatever you have to me, even if it is very small, and see what I can do with it’.

No wonder, the woman, who fed Prophet Elijah with her little and last bit of oil and flour, had a jar of oil that never ran dry and flour that never got over.

Small abilities

When the little shepherd boy, David, came forward to fight the huge philistine giant, and that too with a sling and a stone, people laughed. ‘He’s too small, what can he do’, they thought. What happened there? Well, the ‘little’ boy defeated the giant with one stone, in the name of the Lord.

God doesn’t need your abilities to accomplish the plans and purposes he has for you, but he does need your availability. He wants you to go to him with the ‘small abilities’ that you have to fulfil great things planned for you and His Kingdom.

Moses was an old man who stutters. Who would have thought God would call him from among many other well-built, well-spoken Israelite men to deliver Israel from Egypt? But God did. Moses had very less ability to speak and lead over 6 lakh men, and more women and children. But when He made himself available to God, God enabled him to lead the Israelites powerfully out of Egypt and through the wilderness.

Bring your small abilities to the God, His strength that works powerfully in you will turn the same weakness into your strength – and this will result in glory and honour to God!

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1 : 27

Don’t despise small things, they bring glory and honour to God!

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HOW CAN DIVISION BE FROM GOD?

In today’s church, there is tremondous emphasis on unity and most definitely the Bible, at many instances, encourages us to be like minded. So it isn’t uncommon for us to associate separation and disunity to the devil and unity as God’s work. Yet, according to the Bible, that is not always true. God can and has used seperation as much as He uses unity for His purposes.

We see how God himself used separation on the very first day of creation, is going to use it on the last day of this earth and has used it and is using it many times inbetween as well.

On the very first day of creation, God separated light from darkness (Genesis 1:4). Even today, light and darkness cannot coexist. On the very last day of this earth, God is going to separate his sheep from goats, that is those who believe in Jesus and follow Him from those who don’t believe in Jesus (Matthew 25:32).

We see how God himself used separation on the very first day of creation, is going to use it on the last day of this earth and has used it and is using it many times inbetween as well.

So, let’s understand what the Bible really has to say about separation –

• SEPARATION TO PROTECT

When the Israelites were faced with a hopeless situation with the Red sea in front of them and eqpytians behind them trying to hunt them down, God’s Shekinah glory miraculously came in between the Israelites and Egyptians and they were separated. None of them could go on either side (Exodus 14:20). And God split the Red Sea (which was united) for the Israelites to crossover to the other side. When the Israelites crossed safely, He used the same Red Sea to come upon the Egyptians who were now trying to chase the Israelites. Suddenly the sea came together and all the Egyptians there died (Exodus14:28).

This is a clear instance when God uses his glory and power to separate to protect His people.

God’s promise for you “I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Isaiah 45:2

God uses his glory and power to separate to protect His people.

• SEPARATION TO GROW

This might sound strange, but it is true. For example, when it comes to marriage, God commands man to leave his mother and father and be united to his wife. This means to grow as a family, God’s principles require a man to separate from his parents (Genesis 2:24).

We may have to leave our comfort zone, sometimes our families, friends, relatives and go to a place where no one has gone before to witness growth in God’s kingdom.

Even the hard-earned money that we gather, we redistribute (divide) into many areas like food, clothing, shelter, investments and more to see fruit.

To see His kingdom expand, we ought to go into the world. This means, we may have to leave our comfort zone, sometimes our families, friends, relatives and go to a place where no one has gone before to witness growth in God’s kingdom.

• SEPARATION FOR COMPLETE DEPENDENCE ON GOD

This one is going to be a little hard to accept. Over the past year, we have seen so many loved ones rest in the Lord, so many losing jobs, so many having to move places. One of the reasons that God allows such situations is that we would rely on him completely and trust him to come through in the toughest of tough situations. In Gideon’s life, when he had a huge army of 32,000 soldiers to fight his enemies, God reduced their number to just 300 men (Judges 7:7). It seemed impossible to even think they could overcome their enemies. And don’t forget, when God called Gideon out of the fear of his enemies, he was threshing wheat by hiding in a wine press.

One of the reason God allows separation from people, jobs, places and other things is so that we would rely on him completely and trust him to come through in the toughest of tough situations.

• SEPERATION AS A WEAPON

God could also cause confusion among your enemies who are united to see you destroyed to save you.

Confusion is also another weapon of separation that we see God using in the Bible. In the old testament, we see how confusion is commonly used among the enemies fighting Israel. Whenever God would want to save the Israelites miraculously, God would cause confusion among the enemies camp (who were united by devil) to kill each other. In some cases, the enemies would be confused and harm each other to an extent where Israel would be victorious without even raising a sword (2 Chronicles 20:24).

Today, God could also cause confusion among your enemies who are united to see you destroyed to save you. All you need to do is ask God and bow down in prayer and trust Him.

• SEPERATION TO CONSECRATE

The meaning of consecration is ‘separating oneself to be holy for the Lord’. God, in the past, has called individuals, people groups and even nations to be consecrated for him (Exodus 19:5-6). Even today, the church, which is the pillar of truth, ought to consecrate itself from every hollow philosophy which doesn’t depend on Christ but rather on traditions and elemental spiritual forces. We need to guard ourselves from every teaching which has the pretense of knowledge but causes us to deviate from sound doctrine.

Even today, the church, which is the pillar of truth, ought to consecrate itself from every hollow philosophy which doesn’t depend on Christ but rather on traditions and elemental spiritual forces.

There is an emphasis, today, by preachers to call preachers, pastors and leaders from across all denominations to unite – this by giving a blind eye to each other’s theology and doctrine. Is this the kind of unity God desires? By doing so, we are making our churches lower their guard and become vulnerable to false teaching and teachers.

Let’s rework our theology (understanding of God) not just based on what we hear from preachers, because they are also men who can err in their teachings. Instead, let’s rework it based on what we read from the Bible, the solid rock foundation.

Be wise! Build yourself on the word of God, the solid foundation.’

God can use separation too, as much as unity, to build His kingdom!

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WHY SHOULD I PRAY?

Sometimes we just don’t ‘feel like’ praying or sometimes we ‘don’t have the time’ to pray, yet, prayer is the most important part of anyone’s life. Prayer builds our identity, our knowledge of our creator and leads us into the purposes and plans God has for us.

So, here are five reasons why you should persevere in prayer and pray –

• Converse with God

Praying is literally talking to God, just as you would with a parent / guardian, a sibling or a friend. What do you do with them? Pour out your heart, share yourself with them, listen to them and know them more.

He is always there, not only to hear you, to converse with you.

If you’re wondering or are struggling to pray to the true God, begin now by going to Him and talking to Him. You can converse with him wherever you are, because he is everywhere, at all times. He is the parent, friend or sibling who will never go far from you, no matter what. He is always there, not only to hear you, to converse with you. And He always speaks, in alignment with His word, the Bible.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord .. Isaiah 1:18

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Psalms 25:14

• Let ‘go’ and let ‘GOD’

Oftentimes, we tend to keep our problems or circumstances right in front of our eyes, up close. Our human mind pushes us to think of all the probabilities and possibilities of something going right or wrong. But with all our limitations, there is honestly no problem/circumstance that assures us of a permanent solution. This makes us anxious, burdened and hopeless.

That is why we need our creator, who is ruler over all things, to lead us into the plan He has for us. Only He can bring joy and peace in our hearts in the midst of uncertainty, because only He knows how to lead us through.

When you pray, you begin to focus on how God can lead you. So now, the problem or circumstance you are in starts diminishing in comparison to God’s greatness and power. When you pray, you give God the charge and you let go.

Praying constantly and consistently in the midst of uncertainty is very important, if you want to be peaceful and joyful.

When you pray, you give God the charge and you let go.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7

• Stand in the gap

Have you seen someone hurting and wondered what you can do to help? Or Seen someone’s bad behaviour and wondered how it could change? Or Seen a community, city or nation reel under threat and wondered how things would be back to normal?

When you pray for a person’s bad behaviour, God changes their heart and mind. When you pray for a nation, God brings about a revival.

The truth is, God is sovereign over all things and He alone can take control of hearts, minds and even nations. God, in the Bible, says that He just needs someone to stand in the gap and intercede for others.

When you pray for a broken heart, God does the mending. When you pray for a person’s bad behaviour, God changes their heart and mind. When you pray for a nation, God brings about a revival.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30

• Fight the real enemy

A lot of times we get caught up fighting against people. Sometimes we win the fight, sometimes we lose the fight.. but, either ways, end up distancing from the person. That is not what God has called us to. In fact, God tells us that anyone who loves God must love their sisters and brothers (1 John 4:21).

Your family and friends are not your enemies, the devil is.

But.. this is not easy. Our emotions and our heart are deceitful, making it hard for us to let go and not fight people. That is why we need to pray. When you pray, you war against the real enemy – the devil. Your family and friends are not your enemies, the devil is. When you pray, God’s angel armies fight the devil and that’s when you remain at peace with your family or friend.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6 : 12

• Unveil the supernatural

When God created man and woman, the Bible says He created us in His likeness. God wants us to be like Him in every way – His character, His glory and His power. He wants us to display His glory here on earth, as it is in heaven.

When you live your life outside of prayer, you live on human capacity. But when you live your life in prayer, which is dependence on God in everything, you live in God’s capacity

That’s why Jesus taught the disciples to pray like this – “..your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10

When you live your life outside of prayer, you live on human capacity. But when you live your life in prayer, which is dependence on God in everything, you live in God’s capacity – which is beyond natural. Praying leads you to witness God’s miracles in your life and lives of people around you. You, then, begin to live a supernatural life, the Kingdom (of heaven) life – which is what Jesus asked us to pray for.

If you want to start praying again, begin by just simply conversing with God. He is there. He is lisening. Right now and always..

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SET APART AND FOR A PURPOSE

Sanctification explained

The word sanctification comes from the word ‘Hagiosmos’, which means ‘set apart from everything else and dedicated for God’s use’. In simpler words, ‘being made Holy for God’.

In the Old Testament, there was the ‘Sanctuary’, which comes from the same root word as sanctification. The sanctuary is a place set apart and dedicated for Yahweh to dwell, also known as the Most Holy Place. And then, in the New Testament, we see how God sets apart individuals and not just places for this very purpose. God is setting apart individuals by sanctifying them from within.

1 Corinthians 6 : 19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

“It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.”

So what really brought that difference between the two testaments? What brought the change from the ‘sanctuary – a place’ being sanctified to ‘individuals’ being sanctified? The answer is Jesus Christ!

What Jesus prayed to God in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 is very crucial for us to understand sanctification.
Jesus prayed in John 17 : 19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

Here, first of all, Jesus says that He was sanctifying himself. And, how do we see that He sanctified himself? Going by the meaning of the word sanctification, He set himself apart, kept himself pure and without sin. He did not give into the pleasures of the world. Nor did he use His God-given gifts to make his life comfortable, unlike so many men do for their personal gain. Rather, He made himself available for God, for the purposes that God intended for Him – for the Cross, for humiliation, for insults, for pain, for flogging, for resurrection. And He declared all these even before they took place.

Luke 18:32-33 says, “He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

Secondly, when Jesus prayed for his disciples to be ‘truly sanctified’, it is important to note that the disciples had already left everything and everyone behind, yet according to Jesus, ‘true sanctification’ did not even begin in them thus far. So this shows us that mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy. Likewise, the offerings and sacrifices offered by people year after year in the Old Testament could not sanctify them.

Mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy.

People can do wonders in personal and professional lives, and still not be separated from sin and the consequences of sin, which is death. Because of which, they are not truly ‘holy’ to the Lord. Each and every person needs Jesus’ sanctification to truly be sanctified. It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.

The author of Hebrew points us to this vital truth, in Hebrews 9 : 14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

God’s purpose of sanctification in the lives of individuals is two-fold –

  • BEING SET APART

God’s work of sanctification is to free people from bondage of sin, addiction, the power of satan and worldly philosophies (which at times comes from your own family and friends).

A lot of people, after accepting Jesus as their personal saviour, are taken on a guilt trip by the devil about what happened, what they could do or couldn’t do in the past. Satan also constantly works to make people slaves to him by making them slaves to sin, slaves to people, slaves to idols; causing them to forget the sanctification power of God in them that set them apart.

Press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God

As Christ desires, let us throw off everything that entangles us and makes us slaves to sin again and instead let us keep ourselves pure and holy. Through all these experiences that we go through, we know that sanctification is an ongoing process until we die. No, it is not a one time event. So, press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God. Both of these are very important for the sanctification process to fully take place in our lives.

“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” – Acts 26:18

Paul reminds the believers in the church in Corinth, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

  • DEDICATED FOR GOD’S PURPOSE

God is sanctifying us so that we can fully represent Him in this world, be his ambassadors, share His Gospel, be that aroma of fragrance to the people who are oppressed, suffering and ailing, to share His love and to share the truth in love.

Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

Most often, we are not prepared to face a situation that requires us to give a reason for our hope in Jesus. It could be because of lack of courage or the feeling of not being equipped. We tend to avoid such opportunities that God creates in our lives. Let us remember that we are sanctified by God for this very purpose. Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

The apostle Peter, reminds us in 1 Peter 2 : 9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”